Thirty-five-year-old Damien Reynolds from Mapperley set up The Wolfpack Project in 2019 after noticing that there were not any charities which help young people who are feeling isolated.
According to new figures by The Royal Horticultural Society, 68% of people aged 18-24 are lonely.
Damien is not surprised by the statistic. He thinks that reality television is playing a role in the increasing isolation of young people.
“I think programmes like Love Island tell younger people to look and be a certain way. So if you don’t look that way or have meaningful friendships and connections, that can be very damaging.
“As an age group statistically, people aged 16 to 24 are three times more likely than people over the age of 65 to be lonely. It’s a growing problem across the UK.”
“If you are lonely, it’s important to reach out”
Damien Reynolds, CEO of The Wolfpack Project
Damien set up The Wolfpack Project in 2019 after he felt that he was getting into his 30s and he was becoming less sociable and not making any new friends.
After seeing that there were not many charities which help younger lonely people, he decided to set up his own, whilst still working a 9-5 job as a charity fundraiser.
The charity helps lonely people in the city meet through its ‘Buddy Scheme’. It links them up in the city with someone to talk to. It pairs people who have similar interests so they can form a friendship.
When asked for his best advice for a young person going through loneliness, he said that it was important for them to reach out to a specialist at their college or university.
“It’s very easy to retract. But it’s really important that conversations are had because [the loneliness] is having a damaging effect on their mental health and physical health.
“Its also important to maintain relationships with your family and to not close yourself away.”
The charity got off to a great start in 2019, winning Nottingham Trent Student Union’s Charity of the Year.
Damien hopes to form “Wolfpack groups” in 2020 – groups of people in the city who can meet and talk about their experiences together.
He also would like to see the project rolled out across the UK, where there is a Wolfpack group in each city – but he recognises that he has a “huge task” in Nottingham.
You can support The Wolfpack Project by donating to its JustGiving page here.